Sonokinetic is renowned for its excellent sample-based orchestral sample libraries and Capriccio looks like its best yet. Keith Gemmell gets lively…
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Minimum System Requirements Kontakt 5
Capriccio is the latest product in what has become an evolving line of phrase-based orchestral sample libraries from Sonokinetic. First came Vivace, followed by Minimal and Grosso, all of which have built a solid reputation with cinematic composers and producers.
If you’re already familiar with these releases, Grosso in particular, you’ll soon get the hang of Capriccio because both libraries share an almost identical interface and many features. We reviewed Grosso here, so we’ll concentrate mainly on the new features in Capriccio and the key differences between the two products.
Pick a Phrase
The library is grouped into five separate categories: Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion and Melodic Percussion. It’s worth noting that the Choir and the Transition Builder have not been carried over from Grosso.
To find a suitable phrase, graphically shaped icons are used, which give some idea of its melodic and rhythmic content. However, with so much material to choose from in Grosso, finding something suitable could take some time. This procedure has been improved with instant audio auditioning from the Phrase Picker window. To view the notes, it’s a straightforward matter of clicking and peeking at the short score that’s provided for each pattern.
Once in the Score View, by clicking another button, you can now drag and drop Capriccio’s midi data into your DAW, which not only provides you with a piano roll view of the phrase but also the ability to edit the data for use with other sounds in your composition. This is a very welcome addition that opens up all kinds of creative possibilities.
Musically, Capriccio is a continuation of Grosso with the accent firmly on the cinematic genres. The phrases are triggered by playing triads with the left hand. They can also be harmonically modified on-the-fly with the right hand. Capriccio was recorded in 4/4 time as opposed to Grosso’s 12/8 time signature, which some users found frustrating. The phrases provide an excellent basis for further inspiration, but entire pieces can be constructed using just the given material.
Adjusting volume, panning, crossfade times and microphone positions remains a simple matter in the main GUI. Phrase sample and release sample volumes remain linked by default but can now be unlinked and adjusted independently. Another new feature is the sample offset function that can be subtly applied for corrective use or drastically for creative use, such as polyrhythms and syncopation.
Ups and Downs
Runs are a common ingredient of much of the orchestral cinematic music we hear today. However, playing them and getting them to fit an existing tempo is notoriously difficult. Where Grosso featured a brass and woodwind transition builder, Capriccio has a ‘Runs Instrument’ for woodwind and strings. An intelligent engine ensures that runs of different lengths will be played together and the woodwinds have a set of subtle variations.
The Runs Instrument itself is played in a similar way to the main instrument with major and minor triads: having them played for you and fitting the song tempo exactly is a great help if you happen to be a budding John Williams.
The big question for existing Grosso users is, will they benefit from adding Capriccio to their toolbox? We think ‘yes’. Both programs are brilliantly implemented, highly inspirational and share the same basic architecture. Capriccio, though, is larger with a bigger sound and a more robust performance. It also features all new content. For those new to phrase-based sampling who want to put their toes in the water, Capriccio is the best you can get.